A new law effective March 1, 2017, will reorganise Peru’s immigration categories into temporary and resident categories, will allow foreign nationals to work in the public sector and will relax travel bans but create new fines for foreign nationals violating immigration laws, among other changes.
New Immigration Category: Temporary Workers
The immigration category for temporary workers is meant for short-term workers. It includes the following key subcategories, among others:
Business Visa: This multiple-entry visa will allow foreign nationals to carry out business, legal, contractual, specialised technical or similar activities. It will allow stays of up to 183 days within one year and is not renewable. It will be granted by Ministry of Foreign Affairs through Peruvian consular posts abroad and is issued by Peruvian Immigration at the port of entry. Currently, specialised technical activities require a work visa.
Temporary Appointed Worker: This multiple-entry visa will allow stays of up to 183 days within one year, and it can be renewed for another 183 days. It will be granted by the Peruvian Immigration Office.
International Agreements: This visa will allow foreign nationals to remain in Peru based on international agreements. It will be granted by the Peruvian Immigration Office.
Artistic or Sports: This single-entry visa will allow athletes and artists to remain in Peru and will be granted by the Peruvian Immigration Office.
Temporary Training/Research: The single-entry visa will allow trainees and researchers to remain in Peru and will be granted by the Peruvian Immigration Office.
Journalism: This visa will allow journalists to apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a temporary stay.
New Immigration Category: Residence
The residence category is meant for those who will carry out work activities for at least one year, and includes the following key subcategories, among others:
Appointed Worker: This multiple-entry visa will allow foreign nationals to perform work activities that require specialised professional, commercial or technical knowledge for up to one year.
Intern/Student: This visa will allow foreign students and interns to participate in exchanges or in other specified programs for up to one year.
Investor: This visa will allow foreign nationals to establish, develop or administer one or more lawful investments within the framework of Peruvian legislation. It will be granted by the Peruvian Immigration Office and will allow for a stay up to one year.
Worker: This visa will allow foreign nationals to work in the public or private sector, under a work contract, administrative relationship or service agreement, or independently. It will be granted by the Peruvian Immigration Office for stays of up to one year. Currently, foreign nationals cannot work in the public sector.
Worker Family: This visa will grant spouses of permanent residents automatic work rights for up to two years. Currently, spouses cannot work under the main applicant’s visa.
Research: This visa will allow foreign nationals with recognised knowledge and experience in the fields of science, technology or innovation or those working in highly specialised educational projects to seek approval from the Peruvian Immigration Office for a stay of up to one year.
International Conventions: This visa will allow foreign nationals from countries with which Peru has international treaties and agreements to apply to the Peruvian Immigration Office for permission to permanently reside in Peru.
Permanent: This visa will allow foreign nationals who have resided in Peru for three years to apply for indefinite residence rights in Peru.
New Immigration Registry
The new law will also create a new Immigration Information Registry (RIM), an electronic database that will be used by the Immigration Office to store and access foreign nationals’ identification information. The system is expected to be used by all Peruvian authorities in the future.
New Fines and Relaxed Re-entry Bar
The law also will also create new fines for foreign nationals who:
Overstay their visa;
Have more than one nationality and fail to use the same passport or document as used in their immigration process to identify themselves upon entry to Peru;
Do not update their identification card information;
Do not pay governmental visa fees;
Fail to extend their visa within its validity period; or
Perform activities outside of their immigration status, visa or permit.
Lastly, foreign nationals who are deported will see a more relaxed re-entry bar of 15 years, instead of the current lifetime ban, but they will be subject to new fines.
What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals
Foreign workers should benefit from the simplified immigration categories and should contact their immigration professional to discuss related process changes and other categories not mentioned above.
Foreign workers should be aware of the new fines and should work with their immigration professional to ensure compliance with the new law.